Lockheed Martin laying off hundreds, closing Akron facility

County reaching out to affected workers

AKRON, Ohio - Lockheed Martin is laying off hundreds of employees at its Akron facility, the company announced Thursday.

The 677,000 square foot facility will close by early 2015 and mean the elimination of 500 jobs.

The official notice follows reports earlier in the month that the move was possible as the global aerospace giant considered consolidating its operations.

The corporation also plans to close operations in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Goodyear, Arizona and Horizon City, Texas.

PRESS RELEASE: Lockheed Martin to consolidate facilities

FACT SHEET: Lockheed Martin facility closures

In an email to NewsChannel5's Bob Jones, a Lockheed Martin spokesman said the company plans to keep its Air dock and a small leased presence.

Some of the employees in Akron will be considered for job transfers to other facilities.

Walter Malish, a 58-year-old father of six, said he'll be too young to retire in 2015 and worries about finding another good-paying job.

"Nobody is going to hire people in their 50's. I'm sorry. You might get a job at Lowe's or whatever, but you're not going to get a manufacturing job. I'm too old," Malish said.

RESOURCES: Compensation, job training and more

Michael Livigni, who assembles rockets, missiles and surveillance equipment for the company, hoped the Akron plant would be spared.

"I surely don't want to see this plant close. We've got a lot of young people here and surely we'd like to keep the work here in Akron," Livigni said.

At an afternoon press conference, county and city leaders expressed disappointment and frustration over the announcement by Lockheed Martin.

Stressing that he wasn't giving up, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic said, "I'm going to do everything I can to protect the citizens of Akron, and if that means taking a position against Lockheed Martin, for your competitors, or anything else, I'm going to do it because we need the jobs here. I know my business."

Plusquellic said the closure will also cost the city more than $1 million in income tax revenue.

Summit County Executive Russ Pry said The Job Center has been in contact with 18 employees who have been given layoff notices so far.

"We will be continuing to do outreach to the families and to the individuals that are laid off about unemployment benefits, about training benefits, about other things that are available under the Workforce Investment Act for displaced workers," Pry said.

Earlier this month , rumors of a closure had workers on edge.

"It would be very devastating. It would hurt," said Chuck Stayshich, a machinist at the plant told NewsChannel5.

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic said he was working with the company as well Governor John Kasich's office, state senators and Ohio congressmen to try preventing the layoffs.

At the time, he said, "Akron is not the place to cut. ...We're fighting like crazy to make sure we keep these jobs."

Akron spokeswoman Stephanie York said, in an email, "We have worked diligently with Lockheed for years and need a little time to digest the impact of the closing. The Mayor will put out a statement or hold a press conference later today."

Check back for updates on this story as more information becomes available.

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